Thursday, May 17, 2012

Off Week & Stiletto Sprint

We are very thankful for all of the love and support so many of you have shown my parents and family. Keep those cards and messages coming! This week marks the end of my moms first cycle of chemo! 5 more to go. She had to go today for blood work, which only took about 5 minutes. She is feeling better today and even ate Skyline for lunch. :) She is still having some pain in her stomach but that is most likely pain from her surgery 5 weeks ago. She is doing awesome!

Jess and Kaleb are here again and we are loving our time with them. We miss them so much (miss you too Vince!) Kaleb and Austin are only 8 months apart and we so look forward to them being sweet friends as they get older.

A few weeks ago Jess and Vince along with Andrew and a family from their church, ran in a Stiletto Sprint down in Charlotte. If you read my post from last week, you would have seen the picture of the men wearing their high heels. There are a few pictures below from the actual race. I could not even handle it- I was laughing so hard. Andrew bit the dust.

Jess was actually a finalist in the race! She rocks those high heels; walking and running in them. The only time I wear them is if I'm a bridesmaid and I have to! :) You can imagine how emotional it was for them to be there. I love that there are people doing small, crazy things to show my mom they are fighting with her. Even in heels! My sis also cut her beautiful hair to send to locks of love. She loves her long hair but wanted to do it as a way to connect with mom.

We are looking forward to spending time with my mom over this next week. She continues to grow stronger everyday, physically and spiritually. The Lord continues to reveal himself through this trial. He is present and so intentional with our family. Keep praying that the chemo works and that my mom wouldn't have symptoms from it. Also that she continues to fight and battle her thoughts.

Psalm 73:26
"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. "

P.S. This is the first time using the blogger app from my phone. Pretty cool.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Finding Joy & Chemo: Week 2

Austin is 8 weeks old today and things are starting to "settle" down. Although when people ask me how I'm doing, the bitter part of me wants to say "well I'm sleep-deprived, my clothes don't fit, and my mom is sick! Thanks for asking!!" I would have never dreamed that Austin's first few weeks would be so crazy. God is sovereign in his timing, so I will continue to trust that he is in control of this crazy time.

My parents have felt sooo loved by sooo many friends and family members- cards, flowers, meals, books, candy, etc. I cannot imagine living my life outside a Christian community. How do you get through life's storms without a fellowship of believers??? What a true blessing it has been to see my mom feel tremendously loved and encouraged by people. A few Sunday's ago (prior to her chemo treatments), we spent the evening with my mom and dad. When we got there my mom was reading a book that her sister (my aunt Barb) gave to her. I can't remember the name but it is about a woman who lives in NKY, who is a breast cancer survivor. My mom was in tears talking about this woman's story. At one point my mom and Guy started talking about the Lord and his plan for her. Mom literally said through her tears, that she knows that God has chosen her out of everyone to have cancer, and that she wants to find joy in her sickness but she's not sure that she can. I was so blown away by her sincere expression of faith. WOW! For her to say that God has chosen her brought me to tears. Her faith is so genuine; desiring to find joy but struggling to find it! I know that we can all relate to that during our own life struggles. Last night my bible study girls were talking about James 1 and the verses on finding joy. James 1:2-4 says:

 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

We were talking about how it's a choice to find joy. My mom could literally turn the opposite way and wallow in self pity (which is a natural tendency for all of us!!!) but she chooses joy and trust in the Lord. It's not easy and there are many times throughout the day that all of us question the Lord and feel super angry that this happened. But we are all hopeful that the testing of our faith will produce perseverance. And James 1:12 says:

  12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Not only is God the true physician of her body but he is the true physician of her heart- molding her, shaping her, healing her in every part of her life.

Mom received chemo yesterday in her abdomen for about 6 hours. Today she is getting around ok but she is having some pain in her stomach. Please pray that she will defy the odds and have no, to very little symptoms from the chemo. She is getting some medicine today for nutrients and to boost her white blood cell count. The weekend seems to bring complete exhaustion and horrible pain in her abdomen.

Week 2-Finished!
16 more to go!

I'll be back with a new post of the Ovarian Cancer Awareness "Stiletto Sprint" that Jess, Vince and some friends ran a few weeks ago. Hilarious! Jess and Vince are fighting for mom all the way from Charlotte! The boys literally ran in this heels.....

Keep praying!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Chemo-Week 1

My mom (Linda) was supposed to begin her first round of chemo treatments last week but she came down with an infection from her surgery so they pushed it back to this week. They also changed up her treatments so they will be less "demanding" on her body. For 18 weeks she is going to the Cancer Care Center once or twice a week. The first week she goes on Thursday for 3 hours of chemo and then on Friday for 5-6 hours of chemo. The next week she goes on Thursday for 5-6 hours and she will possibly go on Friday as well. The third week she goes on Thursday for 2 hours for blood work. That is considered 1 cycle. She has 6 cycles.

My sister, Jessica, flew in from Charlotte on Wednesday with my nephew Kaleb. It's been nice to have them here for extra support for mom and dad (Ken). Jess went with my mom on Thursday (May 3) for her first treatment. The chemo is pumped into her body through a port they surgically imported into her shoulder. Since you're not allowed to bring kids back in the room, Jess sat outside with Austin so that I can sneak a few minutes alone with my mom during her treatment. The room is lined with recliners along the wall and there are patients sitting there hooked to an IV. What a surreal experience knowing that every single person is there for one reason. Some of the women wore scarves and others had their heads exposed. I had to try really hard to hold back my tears! Never in my life did I ever imagine sitting with my mom while she received chemo. She continues to amaze me as she courageously accepts this phase of her life. Afterwards, she said she felt pretty good. Her text message was "so far so good!" And she ate cheeseburger for dinner! :) Her only symptoms that night was not being able to sleep. The nurse told her to take some tylenol PM's to help with that.

Friday's treatment was a little more difficult because the chemo is given through an IV into a port in her abdomen, so she has to lay in a hospital bed for 5-6 hours. We've been told that some women refuse to go on with this treatment after the first week because it's so physically demanding on their bodies (nauseous, tiredness, etc). Her symptoms today (Saturday) have been complete exhaustion but no nausea. There is some pain in her stomach but she has been able to eat! Praise God for an appetite! She is taking her meds like clock work and keeping her stomach full by eating every few hours. We are hoping and praying that no other symptoms creep up and by tomorrow or Monday she starts to have more energy.

I've never fully understood what it meant to fight for your life during cancer/chemo. I know that we have a long, difficult road ahead but I see my mom FIGHTING! I see my dad and my family fighting. We're in this battle together. My mom is not only fighting against cancer but she has to ward off reactions to chemo. And more importantly she has to fight against negative thoughts that creep into her heart. She continues to desire to seek JOY in the midst of her suffering. She acknowledges Jesus as her true physician and knows that he is in control.

Please join us in praying for my mom! Pray that she doesn't have any symptoms from the chemo. Pray for complete healing! And pray that she continues to fight her thoughts (that was a special request from my mom).

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1

Week 1-Finished!
17 more to go!